The Dignity of Human Life

I've been criticizing the Roman Catholic church a lot this year, but I can't help it: every month, they're in the headlines again with some new outrage that I can't let pass. And now they've done it again.In November 2009, a woman - three months pregnant, and already a mother of four - came to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. She was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening complication of pregnancy that can lead to stroke or heart failure. Her condition was worsening, and … [Read more...]

Atheists Haven’t Forgotten Poland

I've mentioned in the past that as the Catholic church dwindles and ages, it's increasingly having trouble finding enough people who want to join the priesthood, and it's relying heavily on the few Catholic-majority countries remaining, such as Poland, that are net exporters of priests. At the time, I mused:Even former Catholic strongholds such as Italy and Spain, the article points out, have only a 10-20% rate of church attendance. In this respect, it seems that Europe is leading the way; … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

If blogging was my full-time job, I'd probably have written a post about each of these stories! As it is, I leave you with some food for thought - and there's a virtual banquet this week:• In the U.K., more and more decaying churches are being converted into homes - a fitting use for these still-beautiful buildings, in my opinion.• According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, gay teens are more likely to be punished by schools and courts than their straight peers. One wonders if … [Read more...]

Caution: The Pope Is Coming!

Beware! You could lose your job for reposting or passing on the following image:This altered image, which looks to me like a perfectly reasonable and important warning to children, got a man fired from his job - specifically, Hugh Dallas, an official for the Scottish Football Association, who was fired this week after forwarding this picture in an e-mail in reference to the Pope's recent visit to that country.I've read several news articles about this, none of which make it clear whether … [Read more...]

The Pope’s Martyrdom Complex

Lately, it seems that every time the Pope shows his face, it's to scold a country that's giving people more rights than the Catholic church would prefer them to have. Just consider this report from his recent trip to Spain:Pope Benedict XVI criticized an "aggressive" anti-church sentiment in Spain that he said was reminiscent of the country's bloody civil war era as he began a two-day visit Saturday to rekindle the faith....Benedict told reporters en route to Santiago that the … [Read more...]

In Praise of Human Diversity

The Nobel committee has awarded this year's prize in physiology or medicine to Dr. Robert Edwards, a pioneer of in vitro fertilization. Given how long ago this achievement took place, this decision is surely meant to be read partially as a political statement - an implicit rebuke of the right-wing churches that want to deny people the right to exercise control over their own bodies.And right on cue, the Roman Catholic church stepped in to once again remind us of its existence:The … [Read more...]

A Followup on the Pope Protest

I've got a brief question for Julian Baggini, William Oddie, and everyone else - atheist or theist - who's bemoaned the lively protests of Pope Benedict's visit to the U.K.:Do you believe the pope is not guilty of helping to protect child abusers (and if so, how do you respond to this evidence) - or do you simply believe that, because he's the pope, he should be immune from any consequences for his actions? … [Read more...]

Protesting the Pope

<a href="http://www.daylightatheism.org/images/PopeProtest01.jpg"You've no doubt heard by now about Pope Benedict's visit to the U.K., where one of his first statements was an accusation that the Nazis were atheists. To be honest, it makes me worried for the old fellow. After all, he himself served in the Hitler Youth as a teenager, yet he doesn't seem to remember that the Nazis distributed Bibles, emblazoned their uniforms with the slogan "God With Us", and gave speeches in … [Read more...]

Ending Religious Discrimination in Adoption

There's welcome news out of the U.K. this week: the government-established Charity Commission has ruled that the adoption agency Catholic Care must abide by anti-discrimination laws and therefore may not refuse to consider same-sex couples as prospective parents:The Charity Commission... ruled that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is a "serious matter" because it "departs from the principle of treating people equally", and that religious views cannot justify such bias … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Catholic Church Not Above the Law

In the past two months, the Catholic pedophilia scandal has largely dropped out of the headlines. But it was still simmering, and it looks poised to erupt into public consciousness again after this raid by police in Belgium:The declaration to the police set off four raids in which the authorities seized hundreds of case files from the commission's current leader, detained a group of bishops for more than nine hours and disturbed the tomb of a cardinal where construction work had recently been … [Read more...]


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